A Young & Charismatic Singer from Kolkata : Simran Ferwani
Simran Ferwani, a nineteen year old belonging from the cultural capital of India, Kolkata, is a passionate singer. This upcoming talent hails from a family of amazingly talented singers and is immensely inspired by her grandmother and her mother.
Although not formally trained in music, she has learned her art from her family. With immense support and encouragement from her family and friends she started her musical journey on Youtube in 2016, with her channel “Simran Ferwani”, currently with around 1600 members strong family.
She has also won an online Music Competition Funkar Music Dil Se contest, a worldwide online music competition, in 2017. Currently, a graduation student pursuing BBA, Simran with her passion for music, aspires to connect with more and more people through her music in future and be known for her beautiful voice.
Click here to check out some of her videos.
The Talented Indian Community extends best wishes to her for the brightest future.
Art & Craft
Teju Jangid – A Jewel from the Blue City of Jodhpur
Hailing from a small village in Jodhpur, Teju Jangid is a digital artist redefining success. Here’s a glimpse of his conversation with TTI.
Teju Jangid, born and brought up in Jodhpur, Rajasthan is a digital artist. With an immense fanbase on Instagram, he is a self-taught digital artist. Currently working as a full-time freelancer, Teju Jangid is proficient in digital illustration, book cover design, concept art and the likes. Here’s a sneak peek into the inspiring journey of Teju Jangid becoming a digital artist despite all the odds in his life.
Since childhood Teju Jangid loved to experiment with colors and come out with some exceptional pieces of work. Recalling the first drawing he made, he says, “The first time I painted was when I was a sixth grader. I made a drawing of Lord Hanuman and took it to school. My friends and teachers appreciated the effort a lot. This gave me a solemn affirmation and I started improving my art skills.” In the initial phase he did not receive much support from his family. Coming from a farming background, Teju Jangid’s father wanted him to join the same and continue the legacy. Paying heed to his father’s advice, he started a job in the sales domain in the main city area of Jodhpur. But the moment he started working, he realized this wasn’t something he wanted to do. He quit the job and came back to his village and started helping his father on the farm. He worked in the fields in the day and practiced art whenever he got a chance.
Teju Jangid kickstarted his career as a professional digital artist around five years back in the year 2018. He started with making pencil sketches of celebrities and sharing them on Instagram. His journey of success began when the renowned YouTuber Amit Bhadana posted his sketch made by Teju Jangid on his Instagram story. While recollecting some significant instances from his story Teju Jangid says, “I remember I made a sketch of Akshay Kumar’s character as Prithviraj Chauhan before the release of the movie. Akshay Kumar had commented on the post and to this day that whole thing remains inscribed on my mind and heart.”
Teju Jangid idolizes the great artist Raja Ravi Verma and draws inspiration from him. Though he has never made one, he adores oil paintings to the fullest. He generally finds solace in painting portraits of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, characters from Indian mythological stories and folktales and the mighty rulers of Indian history. He takes pride in being attached to his roots and portraying the same in his art. He says, “In my early days, I used to paint and sketch on paper. The gradual shift from traditional tools of art to modern equipment was a challenging aspect. I learned and thoroughly enjoyed the whole process.” Now he feels like he has got detached from traditional art but wishes to explore it all over again.
Teju Jangid feels that social media, especially Instagram played a key role in shaping his career as a digital artist. Talking about the essence of art in rural India, he believes that rural India possesses a huge respect for art and artists but it is still not considered as a profession there. Being asked about his take on the upcoming generation of artists, Teju Jangid says, “Just two things for the budding artists – DON’T RUSH AND DON’T COMPARE! Don’t chase popularity and money, just focus on polishing your skills, fame, name and money will follow with joy. And don’t compare the first page of your story to the tenth page of someone else’s story. Compete with yourself, look back at your own versions and feel proud of how far you came!”
Teju Jangid considers artificial intelligence to be both a bane and a boon for artists. He concludes with a strong statement that AI can never replace humans, it can only accompany and facilitate them. He aspires to grow and develop his own self in the field of digital art and accomplish new horizons.
Shubham Shyam And His Constant Companion, Poetry
A conversation with Shubham Shyam, a poet, and his journey on a path of dilemmas and struggles as an artist.
Poetry evokes emotions many. It is a different language, an easier one perhaps since it brings solace to many. Shubham Shyam is a magician when it comes to words and verses. Two of his much loved poetries, ‘Gir Jaana Mera Ant Nahi’ and ‘Woh Aaj Nahi Toh Kal Hoga’, have been like a ray of hope, promise, and strength to many people.
In an interview conversation with Shubham Shyam, we learnt about his struggles, his dilemmas, and how poetry has been his companion at all times. Whoever he is today didn’t come easily. Here’s a deeper dive into how Shubham knits words and brings an enigma, and a lyrical, thought-provoking masterpiece on the table.
Early Life: How Did Poetry Happen To Him?
Shubham was born in a small village of Bihar, known as Dumaigarh, in Chhapra district. He did most of his schooling from there until his father sent him to Patna city for better educational opportunities. He studied in a CBSE affiliated school, which meant that he was supposed to pick one language from Hindi and Sanskrit to continue in his 9th grade. Since Sanskrit was a scoring subject, and most of his friends opted for Sanskrit too, Shubham too decided to continue with Sanskrit. However, his father wasn’t happy with this decision, and asked Shubham to re-opt for Hindi.
It was natural that Shubham ended up disliking Hindi, because, first, Hindi wouldn’t get him the marks that Sanskrit would have, and second, it also meant that he wouldn’t be in the same class as his friends now. His Hindi teacher sensed this rift between him and the subject. She, therefore, gave him poetry books to read and asked him to pick one line from these poems and write another poem out of it. Thus, Shubham started writing poetries in 9th grade.
After his schooling, he went to Kota to prepare for engineering and further completed his mechanical engineering from Tamil Nadu.
Decisions To Make: Poetry Or Engineering?
Shubham was obviously not born with a silver platter. When he went to Patna and later to Tamil Nadu to complete engineering, he also took along with him the expectations of his parents. It was years of hard work, loans, and pressure, and finally he completed engineering. However, when he returned to his parents, he declared that he’s dropping engineering, and instead is going to pursue poetry, his passion. It was the path he wanted to walk on. Meanwhile, his father was doubtful of a life of a poet. In the end, he wanted his son to live a financially comfortable life. Nevertheless, his father gave up and eventually let him leave.
Shubham stepped foot into the city of dreams—Mumbai. While poetry didn’t guarantee to fuel his income, it for sure was feeding his soul. Till date, Shubham does other jobs to sustain himself, while poetry remains his all-time passion. Currently, he is a teacher. He teaches mathematics to grade 11th and 12th, and on the side, performs poetry shows.
Life of a poet isn’t easy. When Shubham first came to Mumbai, despite the unhappiness of his parents, he ran into a director. This director asked him to write a screenplay. Shubham narrated that while the topic was vague, he still of course wrote it and submitted. It was also the first time he wrote a screenplay. The director disliked it, teared it apart, and told Shubham to go back to his engineering job, experience the world for a few years and then return. As someone who had put everything on line for pursuing poetry, these words completely broke him, but of course, not enough to make him give up. Fast forward to a few years later, when Shubham got featured on Kapil Sharma’s show, the same director texted him the words, “good work.” For Shubham, it has been a different satisfaction to prove people wrong.
Shubham Shyam Shares Tips For Aspiring Poets
Shubham talked about how he writes poetries. There is certainly not any hard and fast rule, because poetry comes naturally to him. He explained that most times, his surroundings impact him. Be it political, social or just natural annoyance which might tug at him for reasons many. Shubham then dumps these feelings on a piece of paper, and these come out poetically, in verses. It becomes a cycle for him, since poetry writing then makes him feel better and also produces beautiful, thought provoking written pieces.
For aspiring poets, he shared many insights and tips. Firstly, that poetry comes from within, and to hone that mastery over words, one must read a lot. Reading opens up perspectives, brings multiple experiences to the table, and sharpens the vocabulary. Ramdhari Singh Dinkar has been an inspiring poet figure for Shubham. His poetry has proved to be this new avenue of writing and perspectives for him. Second, practice narrating it and expressing your written piece, its emotions as accurately and honestly as possible. Make your poetry heard by performing and through social media.
Shubham Shyam has reached a vast audience through the power of the internet. Many of his poems, written years back, have now gone viral. Famous personalities like Anupam Kher, Aakash Chopra and Aditya Thakre have even recited his poems. With social media sites like YouTube, live-streaming is also now possible, which brings all community artists and art lovers on the same level to experience, listen and create. Therefore, getting your work heard is equally important. Shubham also believes that talent will remain stagnant without hard work. You must make your own path to success, because there is honestly no shortcut. Progress can only come when you decide to jump and not be scared. Along with this, discipline and dedication will promise you the wings to fly further. In the midst of this, however, always remember to keep your feet planted to the ground as well.
Mallika Mehta: The Inspiring Journey of The Adele Of Mumbai
A conversation with Mallika Mehta, a singer-songwriter, who recently got featured on the New York Times Square for her original single.
Mallika Mehta is a singer-songwriter and a performer. As an independent artist, she has released 9 original songs so far. A musician since a young age, Mallika today, is exploring music in all its elements and variants. Apart from the creative talent of penning heartfelt songs, she also sings in languages not one, but five! She’s fluent in English, Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, and Spanish. What else do you think Mallika got the title of ‘Adele of Mumbai’ for? Here’s a peep into the very interesting interview we had with the singer-songwriter!
The Musical Journey Begins: Early life
Mallika started playing the keys at a very young age of four. Her mother had a keyboard, and whatever tunes or melodies were played on it, Mallika could play the same tune without learning or reading the musical notes. This is called “playing by the ear” and was the biggest discovery to her parents that their daughter definitely has the music bug in her. Soon after, her parents gifted her first keyboard. Mallika still, to this day, plays that keyboard.
Since a young age, Mallika has been surrounded with creative energies of music and painting, which she believes has manifested into social media content. She has taken a few lessons in music, one of which was at The Voice Academy in New York. It was an intensive programme which honed her musical skills. In fact, she recorded her first original song, ‘War Solo’ in New York itself. Mallika was 19 when the song came out, but she wrote it when she was 18. Along with music, marketing also piques Mallika’s interests. She has learnt marketing from Harvard and Kellogg University. Talking about digital marketing, she shared that at some stage of life, she’d definitely want to mix the elements of music with marketing.
Mallika Mehta Releases ‘But Tonight I Wanna Cry’
Mallika Mehta’s first EP, ‘Evolve: The Story Of Her’ consists of four singles, including her first single, ‘War Solo’. The EP is a personal, riveting and beautiful story like composition, which Mallika created right from scratch. She also has 3 Hindi singles: Kahan Hai Tu, Kaafi, and Keh Bhi De and 2 other English singles: Way Too Long and Bling & Pictures.
Her most recent single, ‘But Tonight I Wanna Cry‘ is a pop-electronic song which was released on September 21st, 2022. It has already crossed 20,000 streams on spotify! She wrote this song last year in November. Originally, instead of this party-esque song, Mallika conceptualised it as a deep piano ballad, until, of course, she realised she could experiment and explore with something distinct.
The core of the song is about this one moment, one night, when all feelings overpower you and you give in to your tears. Although Mallika weaved the lyrics around the story of trying to move on from somebody, she also told us that many of her loyal listeners and supporters said that for them the song has another personal interpretation. Lyricism is something that Mallika prioritises the most.
A song is spun around the lyrics, and for Mallika, as a songwriter, it is important that her audience relates to the melodies. The seeds of songwriting were planted in her during her school days, when teachers used to give themes and topics to write poems on. More often than not, Mallika would write these poems for a lot of her classmates. Therefore, growing up, she has been penning random thoughts and poetry pieces, and has loved playing with words. Fast forward to today, she’s an exceptional songwriter now.
For this song, Mallika Mehta got featured on the Nasdaq Billboard at the New York Times Square! When asked how she was feeling about it, Mallika replied that the reality still hasn’t sunk in. “Crazy feeling. Beyond a bucket list,” she described.
She Was Crowned The Title Of ‘Adele of Mumbai’
Mallika’s two biggest musical inspirations have been Taylor Swift and Adele since as long as she can remember. A few years back, in 2016, before she had released her songs officially, Mallika had posted a cover of Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’. The cover then got posted on Adele’s official website. It was a proud and an exhilarating moment! People loved how Mallika could match the unparalleled vocal range of Adele. Later, when she released her first original, ‘War Solo’, an international magazine covered her single, and titled the article: “Mallika Mehta: The Next Adele From Mumbai”. Soon after, many media publications started using this title for her and now Mallika is proudly known as the Adele of Mumbai.
The singer had her first solo concert in 2016. She performed more than 50 songs in 4 languages. It was also the year she opened for Kailash Kher. Moreover, she also got to jam with people around the globe through Berklee College of Music (Boston) wherein she was enrolled for a music intensive programme and received a part scholarship for the same. All of this made her believe that music is definitely going to be a constant in her life.
Mallika Mehta’s Message To The Aspiring Musicians
As an independent artist and singer, Mallika has faced the biggest challenge of making her song heard. However, now with social media that is possible, but it also comes with its share of challenges. Following social media trends, content and updates is a task. However, Mallika definitely revels the fact that she makes and owns her own music.
For the aspiring musicians, songwriters, and singers, the Adele of Mumbai has the message to always remember why they’re doing this, that is, their passion and love for music. Keep putting yourself out there, perform whenever you can, put out your musical content, and get your music heard. If you’re very passionate about your art, you will do well for sure.
Shefali Das Puts That Shef’s Kiss In Her Music
In a conversation with Shefali Das, a singer-songwriter based in New Jersey, who goes by the stage name, Shef’s Kiss.
If there is one thing that Shefali Das will give you, it’s a sheer story combined with the perfect pitch. It was in 2019, when Shefali put out her first EP, ‘Dear Somebody,’. It consisted of five of her self-written songs, each with a unique story, a unique perception. Yes, she’s both a singer and a songwriter! The musical project of hers received a positive response, and it wasn’t surprising, since Shefali had always put that ‘Shef’s Kiss’ in all her musical endeavours.
Born and brought up in New Jersey, USA, Shefali was moved by her own desires and passion for music. The least to say, her journey has been enthralling, and quite a chirpy musical one. However, this doesn’t mean she didn’t have her shares of ups and lows. Until 2020, she went by her stage name, Das, under which Shefali also has the song, ‘Tired’ which has crossed 600K streams on Spotify.
Music is personal to her rather than just a commodity for the public. Since her previous profile didn’t resonate with the singer-songwriter on an equal level, she rebranded to a profile more tuned with her. And so emerged a new aura, a new stage name, ‘Shef’s Kiss,’ (there could be no better pun-intended stage name for her!) and we’re quite frankly looking forward to the music that is yet to come in this new refreshing chapter of hers!
Here’s a deeper dive into Shefali’s approach to music, her lyricism, and a little heart-to-heart on the enigma of art.
Music Is So Much More Than Just Melodies For Shefali Das: Early Life
The beginning of Shefali’s musical journey is unlike others. No, she wasn’t born with the natural inclination towards music, and neither did she take it up on her own. Rather, it was her parents who encouraged her to learn the piano. Just one of many neighbourhood things where the children were supposed to pick one or two creative hobbies and practices. Therefore, by the age of four, Shefali started practising the keys. It wasn’t until that one day at the Church recital, which literally made Shefali the singer she is today.
At the recital, there was a 10-year-old girl who played the piano and sang. The way she was singing, as described by Shefali, “full body facing the audience, broad-chested, feet planted” was something she had never witnessed before. She was dazzled by it. Shefali’s dad straightaway asked the piano teacher to give her daughter vocal lessons, but the daughter wasn’t quite looking forward to it. One thing that Shefali had great difficulty with in her childhood was interacting with people she didn’t know. She wanted to stay hidden from other people’s eyes. Owing to this, her parents tried to get her into several creative and sporty pursuits, and music happened to be one of them.
Despite being against vocal lessons, Shefali had to ultimately give in to it, and what came out of it was definitely worth it. There’s something so beautiful in the way Shefali describes the first moments of her very first singing performance. Recollecting those emotions, she said, “I pushed back my shoulders, I took in more breath, I kind of physically took up more space, and then the way that sound reverberated in my chest, the way that it felt in my hips, in my lips, for the first time I felt that it was okay to take up space. It felt good, it felt kind of different. And to this day, the best thing about it is the way that it feels. It taught me that I was allowed to take up space, I was allowed to be heard, in fact maybe, if I was crazy enough to think that maybe people wanted to hear me too,” and thus began Shefali’s new journey.
The school orchestra band provided her with a sense of community and creativity, where she found a sense of comfort and space. Moreover, her dad always had songs blasted on the speakers, which kept her surrounded with disco-pop, classic rock, Motown, and her favorite, Bruce Springsteen. Thus, when asked what fosters her zeal towards music, she simply answered that growing up, there has always been in her the intrinsic desire to be surrounded by creation, to be surrounded by music. She never has and had to question it.
Currently, the singer-songwriter is pursuing her Ph.D. from Yale. It’s a dual programme in Sociology and African-American studies. She also remarked that a lot of new music is in the making which should be out soon!
Music, Social Media And The Transition: The Stepping Stones To Shef’s Kiss Music
As a singer-songwriter, Shefali consumes a lot of media: movies, books, songs, etc. She is not only inspired by musicians like Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Dua Lipa, or the 70s-80s disco pop, which happens to be her favourite genre, but also finds inspiration in architect designers and interior designers. All forms of creativity and art are a source for her to embrace, learn, and grow through it.
While promoting her first EP, ‘Dear Somebody,’ Shefali turned to social media. Even though she found a community of amazing artists, a great audience and a phenomenal response to her music, the bad side of it overpowered her. She posted song covers consistently to stay in trend, or trying to fit in to the idea of what the people wanted, or the imposter syndrome, all of it took a toll on her. The claws of the internet tainted the relationship she had with music. The social media bug fractured the connection she valued the most. So, she ultimately took a break from music all together. It was also the time of the pandemic. She then concentrated on other creative endeavours like baking, movies and reading books.
After the break, Shefali knew she had to rebrand herself, and this is when she changed her stage name from Das to Shef’s Kiss. She created a new Spotify profile, and decided to create music for herself, and express her true form, like she had always wanted. It was a turn to a more sustainable way of moving forward.
Tapping The Lyricism: Shef’s Kiss As A Songwriter
When it comes to lyricism, Shefali recalls her childhood days when she had spent a lot of time in her own head. She’d dump all her feelings and thoughts on a sheet of paper, and then, through this, it became a therapeutic outlet for her. Her lyrics bear a lot of weight, symbolisms, and metaphors. As a songwriter, her lyrics stem not only from personal experiences but also from her surroundings, other people’s stories, the social and political as well.
For instance, her song, ‘Tired,’ narrates a story of a suffocating relationship, one in which someone is not able to live with and without the same person. The song also reverberates the feelings of frustration, isolation, and mental exhaustion of the pandemic. Meanwhile, her song, ‘Forty-five Pt. II’, is a very political song. It’s on American politics and Trump. There are implicit metaphors and powerful feelings of anger, action, and questioning. Lyrics play a crucial part in the essence of the songs and its purpose, and apparently, this songwriter’s pen brings out her personal expressions very smoothly in words.
Message For The Aspiring Artists
Shefali Das believes that talent is acquired rather than being inherent, however, exceptions are always there. She herself is the living proof of it, having acquired her vocal talents and songwriting. She also adds that creative spirit and desire are innate, but the talent isn’t. A person must have the willingness to create. She also says that we must always interrogate ourselves and question why we’re doing it. Currently, with the 70s-80s vibe back in the mainstream industry, she almost feels vindicated to follow it. But in times like these, she always interrogates why she’s in music in the first place. One must find the balance amid desires and trends, and should always do what makes one feel fulfilled.
One of the life lessons she has learned, which she has also applied to her music, is when she dropped the idea of pursuing med. Her pre-med high-school days were just her chasing a kind of stability, a common immigrant drive. She was chasing someone else’s expectations. When she came to college, she realised that pursuing medicine really wasn’t sustainable for her. She confessed to her parents about the decisions to switch her major, and it felt like a dam broke. Parents are oftentimes skeptical of unconventional career paths, mainly because of their concerns more than anything. But the best way is to have a clear conversation with them and give them time to understand.
Shefali Das wants her mind, body, and soul to be involved a hundred percent in whatever she does. When she gave up her previous profile, ‘Das’, which still has 15K monthly listeners, it was like the plane was finally taking off. But Shefali decided to jump off right at that moment, because that direction wasn’t for her. With her identity as Shef’s Kiss now, she has released the song ‘Expectations’, produced by ShiShi. The song echoes the mixed feelings of anger and desperation after a breakup.
Therefore, for the aspiring artists, the songwriter has one thing to say: just go for it! If it means something to you, then that’s the end of all. Even though money is a big factor, especially in this capitalist world, your own creation and art is what keeps you going.
The Funny Man Next Door : Kenny Sebastian
He is that guy, the Gen-Z Funnyman, who spreads seismic waves of rollicking laughter through his audience. The obvious aftershocks are the thunderous roars of applause and the insatiable craving for more of his rib-tickling jokes. As an audience, we can never have enough of him. On stage, his witticism and sense of humour catch everyone’s attention, making him one of the most loved and endearing Stand-up comedians in India.
In an exchange with The Talented Indian, Kenny reveals “Stand-up happened accidentally”. Admitting he had an inclination towards filmmaking in his early school days, it was an impromptu participation in the Stand-Up Comedy Competition held at the IIT Mood Indigo Fest that set him on the sail for his career. He won the competition. From then on, there has been no looking back. He confides that his biggest strength is his ability to see the normal world ‘differently’. This perspective adds a breath of fresh air to his content and stylistics of his performance. The ‘everyday’ stories retold in a funny and light-hearted manner, interspersed with interludes of brief musical pieces, is what makes him a favourite with his audience.
He recognizes that the comedy is essentially a medium, designated for entertainment, and anything else that emerges during the act, for him, is “an amazing and a fortunate by product”. On the future of the Indian Stand-up Comedy, he forecasts that it harbours a huge potential for growth, precisely because its format is “honest”, “unregulated”, and moreover it “speaks to the audience at a deep level”.
When asked to pass on an encouraging message for all those upcoming artists, who wish to follow his footsteps, he asserts “Keep going at it. It isn’t enough JUST being a Stand-up comedian/ artist. In the days and age of the internet, you are your own manager/PR/producer/writer/performer. Acquire as many skills as possible. Don’t sit on a high chair on one skill.”
Getting A Hang Of Kenny In Tidbits
Ques: One friend, who has played the most crucial role, in your life?
Kenny: My childhood’s best friend Jaison Padacheril. He knew I had the talent, long before I knew it myself.
Ques: Your proudest moment?
Kenny: When my parents came up to the stage during my Amazon Prime Video special ‘Don’t be that guy’.
Ques: Your favorite Stand-up comedians?
Kenny: Jerry Seinfeld and Jim Carrey.
Ques: The most courageous thing that you’ve ever done that required you to take a huge leap of faith in life?
Kenny: Recently, the biggest and the most ambitious project that I have ever done, is to write, act and produce a 7 episode web series for the Amazon Prime Video. I had never done anything like that before and I had to get it done, despite a lots of challenges and hurdles.
Ques: Your best-loved book?
Kenny: The Agile Mind: How Your Brain Makes Creativity Happen by Estanislao Bachrach.
Ques: Your style guru?
Kenny: It keeps changing.
Ques: The quote that you live by?
Kenny: No one has any idea what they are doing.
Ques: The superhero that you would love to be?
Ques: The sport that you love to play?
The Talented Indian Community extends best wishes to him and his team for the brightest future.
Keep rocking!!! Keep tickling our funny bones!!!
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